Words of comfort, Sadio? Mane shares touching embrace with a distraught Mohamed Salah as Egypt star watches his Liverpool team-mate score winning penalty to give Senegal victory in the Africa Cup of Nations final shootout
- Senegal beat Egypt on penalties to win the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday
- Sadio Mane scored the match-winning spot-kick as Senegal won 4-2 on pens
- Mohamed Salah was Egypt’s fifth penalty taker but didn’t get a chance to shoot
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah may have been rivals on the pitch during Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations final, but the love and mutual respect for each other between the Liverpool team-mates was evident post-match.
Mane’s Senegal were crowned champions for the first time in their history thanks to a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Salah’s Egypt after the match ended 0-0 in extra-time at the Olembe Stadium, Cameroon.
It was Mane himself who took the decisive spot-kick to seal his country’s victory, denying Salah the chance as Egypt’s fifth penalty taker.
Sadio Mane (left) comforted Mohamed Salah after the Africa Cup of Nations final shootout
Mane shared a warm embrace after guiding Senegal to AFCON glory via a 4-2 shootout victory
Mane scored the decisive spot-kick to seal Senegal’s first-ever AFCON title on Sunday
Salah was down to take Egypt’s fifth penalty, but his chance never arrived as a result
And while the contrasting emotions were clear at the final whistle, Mane still had the compassion to check on his heartbroken club team-mate.
While his team-mates were celebrating, the Senegalese forward can be seen with an arm over Salah’s shoulder saying words of comfort to Egypt’s talisman.
Despite his visible sadness, Salah was gracious in defeat and accepted the words of his Liverpool team-mate as they shared a touching embrace. The pair will both be flying back to Merseyside ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash at home to Leicester on Thursday night.
Reflecting on the post-match shootout, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher was dumbfounded that Salah didn’t elect to take a penalty sooner in the shootout.
‘Sharing his thoughts on Twitter, Carragher said: ‘That is why your best penalty taker should never go fifth.
‘Mo Salah not taking a penalty for Egypt in a shootout in a final is madness. also happened to [Cristiano] Ronaldo years ago for Portugal v Spain.’
The Liverpool team-mates will now have to concentrate on Thursday’s home clash vs Leicester
Asked by a fan who was down for the fifth penalty that was never taken in Liverpool’s famous 3-2 shootout win in the 2005 Champions League final, Carragher said: ‘Stevie [Gerrard] was on the fifth pen, but he wasn’t our official penalty taker then! Rafa chose him last because he felt he would handle the pressure best.’
Dietmar Hamann, who took and scored the first penalty in Istanbul, joked: ‘Best penalty taker should go first’.
Asked by journalist Sid Lowe whether there was an argument that the fifth penalty taker needed to be someone who can handle the pressure if it comes to it, Carragher replied: ‘That’s the theory or someone who the manager thinks can handle pressure moments. I’m interested in whether it’s the managers’ decision or the player’.
The Sky Sports pundit also found it strange that Egypt won the coin toss before Sunday night’s penalty shootout but opted to let Senegal step up first.
‘Another thing that’s stupid in shootouts, teams who win the toss & let the opposition take the first penalty,’ he said. ‘Commentator said this happened Friday in #MUNMID’.
Carragher was referring to Middlesbrough’s 8-7 penalty shootout win over Manchester United in the FA Cup on Friday night, where the Red Devils won the toss but chose to go second.
All of the first 15 penalties were scored at Old Trafford, before teenager Anthony Elanga sent his effort over the bar.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.